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Sri Lanka Latest: President Flees By Military Plane to Maldives

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(Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the country for the Maldives on a military aircraft, an Air Force spokesman said on television.

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Rajapaksa has yet to send in his resignation letter, according to people familiar with the matter. The leader had told the speaker and the prime minister earlier this week he will step down on Wednesday.

His exit could mark a turning point for the bankrupt country struggling to pay for food and fuel imports. International Monetary Fund representatives plan to continue technical discussions with the finance ministry and the central bank to discuss a bailout package for the island nation.

Key Developments

  • Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa Flees to Maldives, Air Force Says

  • Sri Lanka’s Bailout Slips Further Away as Nation Misses a Leader

  • Airport Staff Block Ex-FM Basil Rajapaksa From Leaving Sri Lanka

  • ‘People Power’ Takes Over Sri Lanka’s Presidential Palace

  • How Sri Lanka Landed in a Crisis and What It Means: QuickTake

(All times Sri Lankan)

Sri Lanka President Has Yet to Tender Resignation (7:32 a.m.)

The president has not sent in his resignation letter yet, according to people familiar with the matter. Rajapaksa had told the speaker and the prime minister earlier this week after protesters swarmed his residence that he will step down on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka Air Force Confirms Rajapaksa Left For Maldives (7:01 a.m.)

The Sri Lankan Air Force provided a plane for Rajapaksa to leave the country for the Maldives following a decision by the security council, Air Force spokesman Group Captain Dushan Wijesinghe said on local television.

Wijesinghe said a request had come in from the current government and was approved by the Ministry of Defence. Rajapaksa left with his wife and two bodyguards.

The leader is now in the Maldives, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the matter is confidential.

Sri Lankan Dollar Bonds Rise After Reports of Rajapaksa Fleeing (5:10 a.m.)

Sri Lanka’s dollar bonds due 2030 rose for the first time in 13 days on Wednesday, with the debt indicated 1 cent higher at 25.764 cents on the dollar.

Rajapaksa, His Brother Have Left Sri Lanka, BBC Reports (4:30 a.m.)

Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country in the early hours of the morning by military jet and landed in Maldives, the BBC reported, citing unidentified people.

Rajapaksa, his wife and a bodyguard were among the four passengers onboard a military aircraft that took off from the main international airport outside Colombo, AFP reported, citing immigration officials. They arrived in Maldives and were driven to an undisclosed location under police escort, AFP said, citing an airport official in Male.

His brother and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa also left the country and is likely to be heading to the U.S., according to the BBC.

Protesters Give Ultimatum to President, PM to Step Down (8:17 p.m.)

A group organizing the protests have demanded for Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down before 1 p.m. local time Wednesday.

Protesters have circulated messages on social media calling on people to gather at the presidential office to force the leaders to resign before the deadline.

Sri Lanka’s Bailout Prospects Slip Further Away (6 p.m.)

Investors are shifting their focus to Sri Lanka’s bilateral creditors as the resignations of Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe dim prospects for rapid aid from the International Monetary Fund.

Global asset managers predict delays in loan disbursements, with Citigroup Inc. economists forecasting payouts not before early 2023.

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